How to Help Colleagues Take Time Off
You’ve heard the phrase, “you need a vacation from your vacation.” Many times it applies to the packed schedule, late nights, and overall fatigue of traveling. But it is also felt when you return to work. The projects that were put on hold in your absence now require you to work late hours to get back on track. You have endless phone calls and emails to respond to and your weekly meetings eat up so much of your time during the day, any rest you had on vacation is long forgotten. You’re more stressed and overwhelmed than before your trip, causing you to wonder why you took time off in the first place?
But time away from the office, a vacation that truly allows you to rest, renew your mind, and reconnect with friends and family is necessary. Not only can a vacation act as a physical reset but it can create mental space that fosters innovation and clarity. To encourage your colleagues to use their PTO, establish an environment that truly allows them to leave work behind. Set up boundaries, expectations, and point people to handle the job without making emergency phone calls to their colleagues on vacation or leaving piles of work for them to return home to.
Answer Specific Questions
Before your colleague takes vacation time, sit down with them and discuss the answers to the following questions:
- What decisions need to be made?
- What needs to be communicated or documented? Who is the audience for these messages?
- What important documents do you control access to and who should receive access during your absence?
- What information is documented in shared calendars?
- Who should people contact if they have a question normally addressed to you?
- Who should be copied on project or personnel updates in your absence?
By answering these questions, you’ll eliminate the need for your colleague to be on-call when they should be on vacation. This may be tricky to do at first, but once your team begins creating a plan of action, thinking ahead, and delegating work, it will become easier for them to take time off when they need it.
Set the Example
As a leader in your company, set the tone for vacation time both in and out of the office. Resist the urge to send emails, check-in, or answer phone calls when you’re taking days off. Show your team that there is no expectation to be available to work when you’re on vacation. Model a productive exit strategy by creating communication plans, delegating assignments, and establishing a different point person to handle specific roles or answer questions. Doing this before you leave gives you the confidence that projects are not falling between the cracks, clients are not in the dark, and your team is moving forward efficiently in your absence. Remember that delegation is a sign of strong leadership. As you lead by example, you’re raising up future leaders and establishing a work culture that your team will respect. People are more than willing to take on a few more responsibilities during a team member’s absence if they know it will be reciprocated.
To learn more tools that will foster a positive work environment, increase collaboration, and enhance your employee’s job satisfaction, contact Trinity Training & Development. Our training programs and development solutions will impact your leadership and change your workplace for the better.